It was a week of reckoning for the Bellville Meat Market in rural Kentucky.
The meat market had just been granted permission to open its first ever wholesale market.
And yet, the company had run into a snag.
The company needed to open the wholesale market to be able to sell its meat to the grocery store, and it needed the government’s permission to do so.
That’s where the phone came in.
The government had given the meat market permission to have its phone number printed on the store’s signage.
So the phone company had to put up a sign that read “No phone, No phones.”
That meant a phone call was going to take place from 1 to 8 p.m. local time, a time that would be difficult to call.
But the phone would be able call back in the morning.
So, for a short time, the Bellovilles had a new source of revenue: the grocery chain.
“This is a great day for our business,” said Greg Sperling, the CEO of the Bellvilles, “because this is a win-win situation for our company.”
For a while, the meat markets phone number would remain on the signage in a way that didn’t interfere with other businesses’ operations.
“We’ve always had a good relationship with the government, and we’ve been working with them to try to work out a way to do things a little bit differently,” Sperlin said.
But after weeks of waiting, the phone number for the wholesale business ended up in the mail.
At 1 p.ms. local on Monday, the bellville business was back.
At 3 p.mi. local the next day, the new numbers would have to be re-posted.
“Our customers were so excited,” Spertz said.
“I mean, they were all excited to come in and buy food, and they just kept coming back.”
But now the government wasn’t the only one who was worried.
“If we can’t get the phone numbers in place, how do we do this?” asked John Gebhardt, a member of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.
The federal government had set aside $25,000 in grants for Bellville to help pay for phone service and other costs.
But for all the talk about phone numbers, no one had any idea how many customers would actually come into the store.
It wasn’t until the day of the open house that Sperlings got the answer.
“It was a really good day for us,” he said.
The Bellville Market was one of the few that the Belles had in operation.
And it wasn’t long before other retailers started to open up wholesale stores in the state.
“In a state where you have the federal government, you don’t have a big retail market,” Gebhart said.
That meant that the government was giving Bellville a chance to expand.
And the bellvilles was happy to take advantage of the opportunity.
“They were like, ‘You know, this is great, we’re gonna start this wholesale business, we’ll have this wholesale market, we want to start the wholesale food market,'” Sperly said.
For some of the smaller businesses that had previously been on the margins, the wholesale opportunity opened up a new avenue to make a buck.
“For the last four months, I’ve had people come in here with $25 bills and cash, and this is what we’re doing with this new business opportunity,” said Craig Gannon, a small business owner who lives in rural Ohio.
The market was so popular that Gannon started his own wholesale business.
It’s called “CandyCards,” and it sells a variety of products like gum, candy, and candy canes to the local market.
“CookieCards are selling in a variety places, and people are really enjoying the products they’re getting,” Gannon said.
And Gannon says the wholesale meat market has done well in helping him take his business from the margins into the mainstream.
“There’s a lot of people who come into this market and it’s not what we would call traditional,” he added.
“The prices have gone up a lot.
But we’ve always been very happy to pay them.
They’re just getting their money’s worth.”
The bellvies wholesale business was a hit with customers.
The food was good.
And customers kept coming.
And now the bell villes wholesale business is expanding.
For now, the business remains a niche one, but Gannon hopes that the new phone number will help it grow.
“Maybe this could help to attract more customers to this wholesale meat and poultry market, and maybe it’ll get a little more attention,” he laughed.
It will be interesting to see if other food manufacturers get in on the action.